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October 2008

Empanada Recipe from Uruguay
Uruguayan Chicken Empanada Recipe!

Empanadas are a crescent-shaped pastry with a filling of meat or cheese. Empanadas can be fried or baked, and may use a variety of fillings from cheese to seafood. Below I've written my favorite Chicken empanada recipe, but you can substitute the chicken for beef if you'd like!



Empanada or Pastry dough - this can be found at your local Latin food market. The crusts (or shells) of the empanada are called tapas (think lids rather than appetizers) and are sold in most Latin markets in the frozen section. They come in packets of one dozen-the best brands are La Salteña or Goya. There are two styles of tapas-estilo criolla or estilo hojaldre (which is preferable because it has a flakier crust).

8 Chicken legs, or two boneless skinless chicken breasts or 2 lbs. ground beef
1 red bell pepper, washed, with seeds removed, chopped
1 green bell pepper, same as red
1/4 Cup of canola oil
½ cup chicken broth
2 tomatos, peeled, seeds removed, cubed
2 large onions, chopped
2 leeks, chopped
2/3 cups green olives, chopped
4-6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
handful of raisins (optional)
2 Bay leaves
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, orégano, pinch of cumin.

1. Boil chicken in water with salt and bay leaves for 20 minutes and leave to cool in its own broth.

2. In a skillet, sauté onions, peppers, leek and tomatoes.

3. Remove all meat from the chicken, making sure not to leave any small pieces of bone. If using chicken breasts, shred the meat with a knife and fork

4. Add the chicken and broth to the skillet, letting it simmer until the broth has reduced. If using beef, add it to the skillet now, and cook until it has browned. Remove from heat and season, add the hard-boiled eggs, raisins and olives, mix well.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the tapas on a flat surface, lightly floured. With a tablespoon, put a little of the meat filling in the center of the dough round.

6. Moisten the edge on the top half of the round with a little water on your finger. Fold the bottom half of the dough up until the edges meet and seal with your fingers by pressing down. The empanada should have a half-moon shape.

7. Use the palms of the hands to pack the filling firmly in the center. Next, fold the edges with the Repulgue: using your fingertip, fold one corner of the empanada over, pressing down firmly. Go to the edge again and repeat, pressing firmly each time. Go around the edge of the empanada and you'll get a spiral pattern.

8. Now, You can fry the empanadas until Golden Brown or To Bake: Beat an egg in a shallow dish and paint the top of each sealed empanada so that when they bake, they have a shiny, golden shell. Spread flour lightly over several cookie sheets, and place the finished empanadas on top. Put the empanadas in to bake for 12 to 15 minutes-they should be sizzling and very golden brown on top. Take out and eat very carefully while hot!

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